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OKW Enclosures Robert Cox's Enclosures Column

Design Lead Revolution in Standard Plastic Electronic Enclosures
June 2010

Robert Cox
Sales & Marketing Director
OKW Enclosures Ltd.
June 2010

Selecting the right electronic enclosures can have a significant impact on the sales success of today's OEM electronic devices. An attractive and tactile enclosure will capture the attention of a potential customer, and can go a long way to communicate the quality of the product as a whole.

It is safe to say that most people today are far more design conscious in the purchasing decisions they make, both at home for personal devices, and in business when choosing new electronic equipment. Equipment that looks good has a greater chance of being selected, even when other considerations such as price must be taken into account.

The resulting demand for better designed products has had a significant effect upon the enclosures market. For many years a standard electronic enclosure was a simple rectangular box with base, lid and four fixing screws. Today these simple enclosures are far less popular, and it is the more modern designed products that are seeing the real growth. This is particularly true for the small handheld enclosures and portable instrument enclosures. For example for remote controls, data collection, measurement and medical applications

We see this trend clearly in the market, as some of the most innovative enclosures introduced in recent years have been handheld enclosures. Many manufacturers, including OKW Enclosures have recognised the importance of the 'see, touch and feel' effect. By this I mean that the critical evaluation of an enclosure comes in the first few seconds of the designer holding it. If the design looks good, is comfortable and tactile in the hand, then these impressions can have a major impact on the decision to use it. If it feels good to the designer, he knows it will feel good to his customer. In fact in my experience, designer engineers will often rethink their PCB and components in order to accommodate a great looking housing.

Another element of this design lead evolution is the development of standard enclosures that can be formatted so as to be a more bespoke solution. By using moulded parts, trims and colour elements, a standard enclosure can be presented in a huge number of variations. As a result the design engineer can select a version which is his own, much as he would if he had his own design and tooling done.

An example of these more bespoke enclosures is the new MINITEC range from OKW Enclosures Ltd. These small remote control style cases are moulded in three parts. The top and base are moulded in ABS or infra-red PMMA, and the centre section is moulded in a new rubber style material called TPE. TPE has become very popular for adding colour to the enclosure, as well as bump resistance, sealing, and tactile properties. The TPE centre section on the MINITEC enclosures is offered in six different colours, and also incorporates eyelets for attaching key rings, wrist straps and neck chains. With a range of three colours for the top and base and six colours for the centre section, along with four standard sizes, plus an optional keypad recess, a total of over 120 different combinations are offered as standard. This gives the design engineer an unusually large selection.

As a result of these developments, today's electronics designers enjoy a far better choice than ever before, with more highly attractive and versatile enclosures being available simply off-the-shelf.

To view more developments in enclosures visit:

To view previous issues of Robert Cox's Column click on the links below:

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